ECMO helps save mother after giving birth

October 25, 2015

Since 2009, Saint Luke’s has used Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) to save the lives of more than 95 people who were facing cardiac or respiratory failure. ECMO can fully support the heart and lungs until the underlying problem is resolved or organ transplantation occurs. Saint Luke’s is the region’s most experienced adult ECMO program. Here are just a few of the amazing stories from patients who received ECMO support.

Sarah McNally, 35 years old
VV ECMO: 3 days

After undergoing a cesarean section on March 31, 2015, Sarah’s heart went into cardiac arrest. Her physicians attributed it to an amniotic fluid embolus, a rare complication of childbirth that occurs when amniotic fluid enters the circulatory system, travels to the lungs, and causes damage.

Her oxygen levels were critically low and could not be supported by conventional means. She was placed on VV ECMO, which re-established vital oxygen delivery to her body. Her lungs completely recovered, and she returned home to her husband, new baby girl, and older daughter.

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